AL: Alabama Poised To Lower Minimum Age For Alcohol Servers In Restaurants
If signed into law, the bill would lower the minimum age of alcohol servers in restaurants from 19 to 18.
By Ryan Phillips, Patch Staff
April 7, 2022
TUSCALOOSA, AL –A bill is headed to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey that, if signed into law, would lower the minimum age of alcohol servers in restaurants from 19 to 18.
The Alabama Senate on Wednesday approved HB176 –sponsored by Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette –which eliminates the 30-day jail sentence for juveniles and employers, while increasing civil penalties for businesses for underage violations to $250 for first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third offense.
“This is a workforce bill and with all the challenges in the hospitality industry finding employees the last thing we needed was to arbitrarily eliminate 1/4 of the potential student workforce in a college town,” South told Patch on Thursday.
Alabama Retail board member Jheovanny Gomez, who owns Jalapeños Mexican Grill in Tuscaloosa County, brought the idea to South and previously testified earlier that the bill would be a game-changer for his business and the hospitality industry.
Gomez also said his young workers want the higher paying server jobs at his three restaurants in Cottondale, Northport and Tuscaloosa, but often seek jobs elsewhere once they turn 18.
“In neighborhood restaurants like mine, I rely on 16- to 18-year-olds as hostesses, busboys and dishwashers,” Gomez previously told lawmakers. “This bill would help me retain workers and deal with workforce shortages.”